Front assist - misalignment - warranty

cattlerepairman

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Jan 22, 2003
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Ottawa
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VW Golf under new car warranty/additional extended warranty. Front assist stopped working. No front impact etc. It just quit during driving.


VW dealer diagnoses misalignment of the radar box behind the front valance and quotes $450 to realign. States it is not covered under warranty and, upon my insistence, produces a copy of a warranty document that clearly states that TIRE/WHEEL realignments are not covered after the in-service date of the car.


I have a good laugh, ask to please build me the bridge from wheels to an electronic driver assist system. I ask if a work procedure for a warranty repair states that the tech needs to align two panels, will they extract this procedure and bill it to the customer because, clearly, they do not align anything under warranty?


Dealer insists that this is what it is, front assist is only a convenience function, not safety (really? It also includes pre-collision emergency braking. Probably a mere convenience to apply brakes before slamming into a wall?)



I have a chat with the service manager, after hauling him down from a condescending attitude, and he actually wrote a mail to the VW district rep right in front of me and showed it to me on screen before he sent it.


My position is that the car is under factory warranty, I did not interfere with the malfunctioning system and if it misaligned itself, it is not my problem as a customer. If Volkswagen designed a bad battery bracket and the battery fell out while under warranty, clearly, they would cover that.



Question: Any experience with getting this system covered under warranty?
 

cattlerepairman

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Update: VW district rep declined coverage. Reason: no mechanical adjustments are covered after 1 yr/20,000 km


So much for extended warranty.
 

BobnOH

not-a-mechanic
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central Ohio
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Well that sounds like some real bullstuff. 1 year? I'm guessing you'll look into this a bit further, is there nothing in the warranty that addresses this, cause it sure as heck is a safety feature. Does the thing look out?
 

bizzle

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What I recommend doing, and what I will do shortly, is pay the bill and then immediately file a small claims case against the dealership for 3x the "damages" and explain your case to a judge. It's around a $100 dollar risk depending on filing fees and service of process.

3x damages because failure to honor a warranty claim can be argued as fraudulent behavior and susceptible to treble damages.

I'm hashing it out right now with my dealership and their refusal to honor the 10/100K powertrain warranty. I also have an overlapping TDI emissions warranty. I've started with the Class Action Attorneys but I'll be following up with my own small claims suit in the interim if the dealership produces a bill and/or the the emissions warranty doesn't apply.
 

Lightflyer1

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Round Rock, Texas
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Won't the dealership just claim it is VWoA that refuses the claim, not the dealership? If they claim this and have written proof (the OP said he saw the email go out) that VWoA said no and there was nothing the dealership could do after trying, I would suspect the case to be dismissed as you sued the wrong entity it seems. The dealership is not the final arbiter in these matters. Even then in most states small claims actions can be appealed to a higher court, upping the cost and time and effort. But good luck to anyone who goes that route. I have represented myself twice in legal matters and managed to win both times. It isn't an easy task though and takes some real effort to do properly.
 

bizzle

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This is a pretty straightforward case based on the facts presented in the thread.

The warranty denial is based on interpreting the failure as mechanical wear and tear (tires/alignment). Aside from the new car, bumper to bumper warranty, there is an overlapping extended warranty (unstated whether it was purchased from the dealership or VWoA).

The damages (repair bill) have been caused by the dealership, regardless of who else might be at fault. Co-name VWoA if that's a concern. They can point fingers at one another in the courtroom.
 

Nuje

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2015 Sportwagen; Golf GLS 2002 (swap from 2L gas); 2016 A3 e-tron
Is your radar unit like this one (disregarding the dead bat)?


The radar unit itself is held in place by three ball-headed posts, two of which screw as adjustment.


Maybe you bumped into something slightly bigger than a bat which dislodged the camera....take a look and see if you can pop it back into place. No need to remove the bumper cover to get at the unit.

Here are some views to give you a sense of what you're working with if you wanna try the self-fix.
(Black post in the last photo is same ball-headed thing, but just doesn't have any adjustment.)

And, of course, YMMV, but as a point of reference if nothing else, I had 7 threads on each of the adjusting screw/posts extending through the screw hole.


 
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bizzle

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I misunderstood the failure. I was under the impression the box itself malfunctioned, not how it's fixed to the vehicle. My opinion was based on whether the dealership should replace the unit itself.

If you want to have the dealership do the repair you can ask them to request a goodwill adjustment from VWoA and see if they'll adjust the cost for you.
 

cattlerepairman

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No, the box itself did not malfunction. If it had, it would be covered under warranty. Nuje, yes, the box looks like that but sits behind the lower grille, really well protected.

There "appears" to be a relation between the alignment of the box and the wheel alignment;



I am not clear what that relationship is but apparently the VW work order specs that the wheel alignment must be done before they can align the box.



That also seems to be what they hang their hat on re it not being a warranty case; it is "like a wheel alignment".



I wrote to VWoC and will report what they have to say.
 

bizzle

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No, the box itself did not malfunction. If it had, it would be covered under warranty. Nuje, yes, the box looks like that but sits behind the lower grille, really well protected.

There "appears" to be a relation between the alignment of the box and the wheel alignment;



I am not clear what that relationship is but apparently the VW work order specs that the wheel alignment must be done before they can align the box.



That also seems to be what they hang their hat on re it not being a warranty case; it is "like a wheel alignment".



I wrote to VWoC and will report what they have to say.
I understand the nature of the failure better now :)

The phrase of it being "like a wheel alignment" is an example to demonstrate it's a mechanical adjustment that can/is misaligned through use rather than system failure. So in the same way that you driving down the road while never hitting anything wouldn't entitle you to a free alignment, so does driving down the road never hitting anything entitle you to a warrantied mechanical adjustment of the sensor. I don't interpret that sentence to indicate the sensor's alignment isn't being warrantied because it's tied to a wheel alignment.
 

Nuje

Top Post Dawg
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Feb 11, 2005
Location
Island near Vancouver
TDI
2015 Sportwagen; Golf GLS 2002 (swap from 2L gas); 2016 A3 e-tron
There "appears" to be a relation between the alignment of the box and the wheel alignment...
I'm tempted to call BS on that.

The radar unit in the photos I posted above are what came on my car. I took that off and installed a different radar sensor ("medium" range radar - MRR - came on the car; I put long-range - LRR - to allow for retrofit of Adaptive Cruise - see my signature for that saga).

The LRR came off some wreck (one presumes) from the UK. I plugged it in, got the dealer to remove the component protection, and it just worked. Calibration: none. Matching it up with wheel alignment: none.

I eye-balled the mounting ball-ended posts, but that was the extent of my "calibration". So, the fact that they say you need a wheel alignment....???? I just don't get it.

Oh - I just remembered: In VCDS, Module 13 - Auto-Distance Regulation (I think is what it's called?), somewhere in the "Measuring Blocks", there are some "horizontal" and "vertical" measures - like offsets or something like that.

Maybe take a look at those and see if they're way out of whack (?).
 

BobnOH

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Location
central Ohio
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New Beetle 2003 manual
Yea it's that. You might try a different VW dealer. It's definitely a safety feature, it likely will need connected to the appropriate computer (VCDS, hopefully) after being realigned.
 
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